Prenota un hotel a Creta
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, a long 260 km stretch with a width varying from 12 km to 60 km in its central part. It lies on the south of the Aegean Sea and its southern coast is on the Libyan Sea.
An imposing mountain runs through the island from east to west, but Crete is also characterized by a fertile valley with windmills of Lasithi in the east, spectacular gorges (the most famous is in Samaria), large sandy beaches and beautiful landscapes. For centuries separated by high mountains and isolated from the sea, the Cretan people have developed a character proudly independent and even combative. Many conquerors followed one after the other but the love of Cretans for their independence and freedom has never stifled.
Ruins from the Romans are present in Gortyn, the ancient capital of the Roman province of Crete, while the Venetians (1204-1669) have influenced the city of Rethymno and Chania and built fortresses such the one in Frangokastello. The subsequent Turkish Ottoman occupation (1669-1898) marked a period of oppression and religious persecution that encouraged a strong movement of independence and resistance.
Since 1913, thanks to Eleftherios Venizelos, Crete has been a Greek province. The capital of the island, Heraklion, is famous for its archaeological museum and is also a good base if you want to visit the largest Minoan palace of Crete, Knossos. However, the north coast around Heraklion is now infested by mass tourism and there is nothing to see. The most beautiful city is undoubtedly Chania, west of the capital, and from here you can explore the western part of Crete (Gramvousa, Elafonissi, Preveli) and the Samaria Gorge.
Despite the tourism and the economic development of the recent decades, Crete still preserves alive its rich folkloric traditions and its cultural heritage. The Cretan dances (pentozalis, haniotikos, maleviziotikos) and the “madinades” and “rizitika” songs are still part of the life in Crete and not just a distant relic of the past or something touristic.
Its temperate climate makes it ideal to visit in spring or autumn. Even during the winter it is not very cold but it will be difficult to take a dip at Christmas as Anthony Quinn did in the famous movie “Zorbas the Greek”, set in the area of Chania.
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